The recent NSA information gathering tactics have become a hot-button issue for our nation. President Obama is balancing the justification of the actual decisions made with due process along with the image of not being a nation of secrecy.
The nation is divided about its trust of the president’s actions and its own views of what is and is not acceptable for its spy agencies. This article explores some aspects of speech and when it is best not to speak.
Speaking is Good
There are times when keeping silent in the face of evil is an abomination. Dietrich Bonhoeffer vilified those who did not speak up to Hitler and the Nazis for their criminal acts.
In America, free speech is valued highly and secrecy is associated with the cold war era and its dangers. While these are valid statements, is that all there is to it when it comes to the issue at hand?
Thinking and Speech
The problem with our society today is that we shoot first and ask questions later. At least when it comes to using our mouth. We want to talk without thinking, that which comes foremost to our minds. We then hope to work out the issues with subsequent thoughts and words.
In matters of life and death, it is wiser to consider carefully what must be said before saying it. What if the name of the spy is disclosed and then the decision regretted? What if the American strategy is open to all terrorists before recognizing its danger? Here are some additional thoughts on this…
Not Speaking Is Also Good
In a time when the locution of man is an indication of his wisdom, few recognize that not speaking at times can be the wisest thing to do.
In the current NSA scandal, the President and the Security Chief seem almost bending backwards to restore their image as clean. It is admirable and warranted to stay above board.
When the matter was secret they did not see it wise to disclose it to the public. Now that it is exposed, they are trying to divulge as much information as can be safely done. The issue here is one of justification to the public in order to limit the power of the few and to safeguard the rights of the masses.
When it comes to God, such a justification is also often expected, but is it warranted? Our President is a man who can be tempted with evil, but not so with God. We can trust that God’s actions are always right.
Not Speaking is Very Good
When Job in the Bible suffers much, he first speaks well of God. Then he struggles to speak much good. Finally in the face of God, he realizes that his speech was folly and silences his lips. Yet, the best move he makes is when his mouth is unstopped to recognize the greatness of God in all the trials.
There is a time to stop speech. Speech is good, but not the supreme good in and of itself. When the heart is lax or the mind dull or the spirit tarnished, it may be wiser to restrain one’s tongue from evil. When one sees God, there is but one response – to worship, adore and exalt God who alone deserves all praise and honor.